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About Hong Kong

Information about sizes and systems in Hong Kong that will help you plan your move. Everything, from plugs to voltage, from shoes to paper sizes, has different standards in different countries. Will you be able to use your electrical appliances? Or watch your DVD? If you know what sizes and systems are used before you move, you are ahead of the game. Paguro has already done the research for you.

The internationally recognized name is Hong Kong, locally called Xianggang.  The conventional long form is Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, locally called Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China (SAR). The former British colony became a special administrative region of China in 1997, when Britain's 99-year lease of the New Territories, north of Hong Kong island, expired. The regional flag of Hong Kong is flown along with the Chinese national flag. The flower in the centre is a Bauhinia Blakeana, a species unique to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is know as the one country, two systems, which is related to the fact that although it is part of China it enjoys a certain degree of autonomy.

Language: Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin) and English are the official languages. English is widely spoken and government site and information are often in both languages.

Currency: Legal currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD), with 100 cents in a dollar. It is divided into the following denominations:

  • Coins: 10, 20, 50 cents (bronze coloured) - 1, 2, 5 HK dollar (silver coloured) - 10 HK dollars (nickel and bronze) coloured
  • Notes:  10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 

Notes issued by HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank have denominations of HKD 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000. The Bank of China issues all of the denominations except HKD10.

Time zone: Standard time zone is GMT + 8 hours. This means that when in London it is 11 am, in Hong Kong it is 7 pm. Hong Kong does not apply the Daylight Saving Time during summer months. 

Electricity: Voltage in Hong Kong is 220 volts/50 Hz. It is important to pay attention to the voltage system. Even though you've bought a plug adaptor, the different voltage may cause your expensive electrical appliances to cease functioning with a bang in a smelly cloud of blue smoke. If in doubt check light bulbs at home or in a supermarket and read the information on it. Stereos and computers may already be double voltage and can convert from 110 to 220 with the turning of a switch.

Electrical plugs: Type G (British plug) and Type M (South African plug). Type G is being phased out in favour of type M.

  • Type G: Rectangular blade plug with three rectangular prongs, two side by side and one perpendicular to the other two. It is used also in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Channel Islands, China, Cyprus, Dominica, El Salvador, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, St. Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • Type M Plug , commonly called "South African plug", has three round prongs. In use also in Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. 

Phone jacks:  In Hong Kong they use the english phone jack (technically known as BT431A) and the RJ-45, which looks similar to the classic RJ-11, but can have up to eight conductors, where there are only four in the RJ-11.

Mobile phone system: GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) 900/1800 as well as 3G digital mobile phone systems are used for mobile phones in Hong Kong, giving coverage across the island and on the mainland. Reception is excellent even undergrond where a network of transmitters ensures coverage even in tunnels.

DVD zone: DVD's are region 3, like Taiwan, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia. You can get locally all-region DVD players and it is possible to buy other region DVD's. 

TV system: PAL system, like most of Europe. It is possible to get video recorders that play both NTSC (for Japanese and American videos) and PAL.

Measure system: Metric. Hong Kong uses kilos, kilometres as unit of measures, with the exception of the customary Chinese units (tahils) which are still permitted for trading in Chinese herb/medicine. A tahil is a unit of mass equivalent to approximately 37.8 grams (or 1 1⁄3 ounces) in use, besides Hong Kong this is also used in Brunei, Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

Phone code: country code is 852. There are no city area codes in Hong Kong.

International phone calls

  • Calling Hong Kong: IDD of the country you are calling from + 852 (no city area code) + phone number
  • Calling from Hong Kong: dial 001 + country code + area code + phone number.

Paper : The basic printer paper and folder paper size is A4.
If you purchase new office or printing equipment in North America, you should ask whether the equipment is suitable for use with A4 paper. When you make inquiries, mention to vendors that what concerns you, is the equipment ISO 216 compatibility.

Mattresses, Pillows and Bed linens: Mattresses, pillows, and bed linens come in all sorts of sizes.  US standard sizes are available fo mattresses and so are the bedlinens (even though much more expensive). 

Clothes sizes: Clothes are usually sized according to British sizes, unless you are shopping in a market and then it is a mixture of different countries.  In general, larger sized clothing is difficult to come by. If you wear an American 12 or higher, you will have trouble finding clothes in local stores. It is possible to have shoes and clothes tailored, but that can be expensive. If you are very tall, finding clothing that accommodates your height may also be a problem.